Estate planning is more than making a will and trust. It is an investment in your personal security and the well-being of your loved ones. A current, properly drafted estate plan can save your loved ones from great expense of time, fees taxes and costs. Our goal is to help our clients make the process of estate planning simple and efficient.
We represent clients in Illinois estate planning matters:
- Drafting trusts, wills, living wills and powers of attorney to deal efficiently with property rights upon disability or death;
- Helping clients understand and then create clear, enforceable plans to minimize:
- future taxes;
- professional fees; and
- the need for probate.
“Estate planning” means planning for the use and disposition of your assets upon your disability or death. It also includes planning for lifetime distributions using gifts, trusts, beneficiary designations and joint ownership. A good estate plan has three primary goals:
- To document plans to care for you, your family, loved ones and charities;
- To minimize exposure of your assets to creditors and taxes;
- To plan for the efficient distribution of your assets by a fiduciary who you choose in a manner you select.
Our “Estate Planning Memo” addresses the following questions:
- Why create an estate plan?
- What happens if you die without a will?
- What are the components of an estate plan?
- How can you get started on your own estate plan?
- Read it here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a living trust (also known as a "declaration of trust"?)
Gives you greater control over your assets (i.e., on disability or death), avoids probate, keeps matters private, avoids confusion and disputes, eliminates delay; can save substantial taxes, fees and costs; protects assets for beneficiaries
Do I need a will if I have a living trust?
Yes,we recommend a will to name guardians for minors or disabled family members and to pour assets over into a living trust at death (if not done during lifetime)
What does it mean to "fund" your living trust?
Titling assets so that you own them as trustee of your trust.
How do I decide who to name as fiduciary?
Pick someone who is trustworthy, follows directions, seeks help with accounting, tax, legal and finance matters and is willing and able to share information with beneficiaries in the manner required.
Who is my trustee of my living trust?
In a declaration of trust you are the sole trustee of your living trust until you resign, become incapacitated or die. Then, the person or institution you name becomes trustee.
What is a trust protector?
The trust protector is rarely used, but the provisions can be helpful if changes to the trust are needed to carry out your wishes during a time when you are unable to do so. You can name a person to serve, but many clients prefer to include a provision allowing the court to appoint a trust protector .
Can I revoke or amend my living trust and other documents?
Yes, while you are competent and living, you can amend or revoke your living trust and other typical estate plan documents. However, documents which you specifically make "irrevocable" cannot typically be amended.